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Wrestling: Overcoming and succeeding

The Rosemount wrestling team was disappointed with its first-round exit from the section team tournament.

The Irish had a chance to use that frustration as a motivating force in last week's section individual tournament. And Rosemount's individuals made up for the disappointment they faced as a team.

At last week's section individual tournament, the Irish had two winners and three third-place finishers. Of its 13 wrestlers, Rosemount had 10 individuals place in the top six of their respective weight classes.

The Irish were also the only team -- other than perennial power Apple Valley -- that had more than one individual champion.

"I think we had a pretty good tournament top to bottom," Rosemount coach Brett Larson said. "To have two section champions is obviously very good."

Rosemount's Phil Levine won the 103-pound bracket and Frank Pokriefka took the heavyweight title and will wrestle at this week's state meet at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Levine is the No. 2 ranked 103-pounder in Class 3A and held up to his standard by continuing his undefeated season.

"We expected he had a chance to win the tournament if he wrestled as well as he did," Larson said. "He's probably set up well in the state tournament. We hope he does well. He's got a good draw in the bracket."

Pokriefka had two key matches at heavyweight, beating wrestlers in the final two rounds that had beaten him earlier this season.

"He wrestled extremely well," Larson said. "We knew he had been getting better and better the last 15 or 20 matches. He has put in his time in the last three years at that weight, and he has learned how to win at heavyweight."

Adam Sommers at 119 pounds, Josh Baier at 125 pounds and Garrett Bothun at 145 pounds each placed third, just missing a trip to state.

Baier wrestled a true-second match to qualify for state, losing a 5-4 decision.

"That was tough; Josh wrestled hard," Larson said. "He had a disappointing first match that he lost, and he essentially battled back the hard way through the wrestle-backs and beat two very good wrestlers to get into that third spot."

Sommers lost to the No. 3 ranked wrestler in the semifinals. The No. 2 and No. 3 ranked 119-pounders are both in Rosemount's section and both advanced. Bothun lost to the No. 6 ranked 145-pounder in the semifinals. Section 3 boasts the No. 3 and No. 6 ranked wrestlers.

"It's a situation where both of those guys are good enough and deserve to be going to state, there just happens to be two guys ahead of them in the state in this section," Larson said. "It's just the toughness of this section, to get out. If you get through, you really accomplished something."

Tyler Sandoz added a fourth-place finish at 171 pounds.

Steve Levine and Tony Marthaler each placed fifth in their respective brackets, while Paul Domeier and Josh Francois turned in sixth-place finishes.